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Legal Compendium: Disaster Assistance and Emergency Hardship Funds

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  • The Council on Foundations has long been involved in helping foundations and funders navigate grantmaking in times of disaster and hardship. We have published various materials over the years related to this subject. This Compendium chapter, however, is our attempt to put everything together in an updated resource with the latest information and guidance. We will address disaster assistance in response to natural disasters, as well as emergency hardship assistance for more personal tragedies and man-made events including mass shootings. We will also discuss assistance to specific groups such as employees of a particular employer. We will outline the specific IRS rules that must be followed, but also discuss where there are gaps and unanswered questions. Finally, we will highlight some unique approaches designed to help victims of tragedy. The target audience for this chapter includes private foundations, community foundations, company foundations, and direct corporate-giving programs. Although this book occasionally references the individual donor and the laws that affect that donor, we do not make an effort to provide a comprehensive analysis of the rules for individual giving.